The Shalvi/Hyman Encyclopedia of Jewish Women

Features thousands of biographic and thematic essays on Jewish women around the world. Learn more

Veronika Cohen

by JWA Staff
Our work to expand the Encyclopedia is ongoing. We are providing this brief biography for Veronika Cohen until we are able to commission a full entry.

Veronika Cohen, cofounder of the Rapproachment Group for Israeli-Palestinian dialogue. Photo used with permission of Veronika Cohen.

Veronika Wolf Cohen has shaped Israeli minds in two very different ways, by developing national music curricula and by leading innovative Israeli-Palestinian dialogue groups. Born and raised in Budapest, Cohen came to the US at thirteen. She graduated from the Peabody Conservatory in 1966 and earned an MA from Yale in 1969 and a PhD in music education from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana in 1980. In 1980 she began teaching music education at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance, where she still serves as professor emerita. She served two terms as dean as well as several terms as chair of the music education department, during which time she helped create a division for traditional Arabic music. She also helped develop the Israeli national music curriculum and created listening methods called kinesthetic analogs or “musical mirrors,” where simple body movements mirror the brain’s cognitive and emotional reactions to music and help students better understand and engage with a given piece. In 1987 she cofounded the Rapproachment Group, a project to break down stereotypes and humanize the other by gathering small groups of ordinary Israelis and Palestinians for regular meetings in participants’ homes in Beit Sahur, Nablus, Dehaishe, East Jerusalem, and Wadi Fukin. For twelve years, hundreds of Israelis and Palestinians hosted each other, met each other’s families, and listened to each other’s stories. Despite the current impasse, she still believes in a future of coexistence, respect, and equality between Palestinians and Israelis.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Veronika Cohen." (Viewed on September 18, 2021) <https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/cohen-veronika>.

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